Mediaplanet sat down with Dr. Vivien Brown, a Toronto-based family physician, to learn more about ways Canadians can keep on top of immune health and wellness this fall.
Why is it important for Canadians to continue to follow public health measures this fall, regardless of whether or not they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
We’ve learned that wearing a mask, physically distancing, and handwashing are effective in reducing viral spread. Despite vaccination, people can carry and spread the virus, particularly the infectious Delta variant. Thus, it makes good sense to decrease transmission regardless of your own status, to help protect others.
Should people still consider getting the flu shot this year?
Yes, as the flu is very contagious, it can mimic COVID-19, and can spread easily. We don’t want to clog up hospital ERs with viral infections we can prevent. And although you may still get the flu when you’ve had a flu shot, you’re much less likely to end up in the hospital with influenza.
What are some ways that people can build up immunity to prevent infection from viruses like the flu and COVID-19?
Healthy eating, proper sleep, and exercise all have an impact on the immune system. Decreasing and managing stress, which we know can affect many aspects of immunity, is also important.
After being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, what precautions should Canadians still consider while travelling?
Follow public health guidelines, wear masks, wash hands, and practise physical distancing. Wear that mask and shield on a plane and in the airport. Get tested and, if needed, retested to be sure that you’re not at risk of infecting your loved ones.
Slowly but surely, those who have been working from home will be returning to shared work spaces. Why is it important that they take sick days if they’re feeling unwell and what can employers do to ensure that employees feel comfortable doing this?
This is really important. If you come to work sick, whatever virus, you place your colleagues at risk by being in close quarters. When in doubt, stay home, work from home, and get tested. Hopefully employers will support the need for sick days and encourage honest reporting of symptoms, regardless of the workload.